About Hindu Gods and Goddesses: As we continue our exploration of the mythology of Hindu dieties, we turn to the second god of the trinity, Vishnu, the Preserver, who represents the force of sustaining good in the universe. Photo and text adapted from www.wikipedia.org and www.siamese-dream.com
LORD VISHNU: Vishnu is regarded as a major god in Hinduism and Indian mythology. He is thought as the preserver of the universe, while two other major Hindu gods, Brahma and Shiva, are considered the creator and destroyer of the universe, respectively. Vishnu is described as being the color of clouds (dark- blue), four-armed, holding a lotus, mace, conch and chakra. In the Bhagavad Gita, Vishnu is also described as having a ‘Cosmic Form’ which is beyond the ordinary limits of human sense perception. As the preserver of the cosmos, Vishnu upholds the universal laws. Unlike Shiva, who often seeks refuge in the forest to meditate, Vishnu constantly participates in worldly affairs, ensuring that all is well.
When order prevails in the universe, Vishnu sleeps on the coils of Sesha (serpent), ruler of the Nagas. As Sesha floats along the cosmic ocean supporting Vishnu, the universe unfolds from Vishnu’s dream. But when there is disorder in the universe, Vishnu either mounts his vehicle, Garuda (eagle), and battles with the forces of chaos, or he sends one of his Avatars (incarnations) to save the world. It is believed that Vishnu would have ten such Avatars, the most popular being Rama and Krishna. The full list of ten Avatars is: the fish Matsya, the turtle Kurma, the boar Varaha, the man-lion Narasimha, the dwarf Vamana, the warrior-priest Parashurama, the prince Rama, the cowherd Krishna, the sage Buddha-Mayamoha, and the one yet to come, the horseman Kalki.
Vishnu is said to use both force and guile to ensure the stability of the universe. His consort Laxmi, Goddess of Wealth and Power, offers him the wherewithal to maintain the integrity of the world. Today, Lord Vishnu is one of the most highly revered deities. His name means “Pervader” and he is the symbol of sustaining goodness. In the epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, he is glorified through the Avatars Rama and Krishna. Vishnu is invoked as the All-Pervading essence of all beings, who supports, sustains and governs the Universe. Lord Vishu symbolizes the strength to persevere and sustain the good in your life. May you have that Vishnu-inspired strength to sustain lasting goodness.